A suspected Islamic militant launched an attack on the Kazakh city of Taraz at the weekend, killing seven before blowing himself up. The attack is the latest in a series of such incidents that have rocked a country once considered the most peaceful of the former Soviet satellite states.
The 34-year-old attacked, described by Kazakh authorities as a ‘follower of jihadism’, shot four members of the security forces and two civilians before being cornered, at which point he detonated explosives on his body, killing another police officer. The incident occurred in the centre of Taraz, a city 350 miles west of the Kazakh financial centre in Almaty.
Kazakhstan has the most successul economy of all the post-Soviet states in Central Asia, and until this year had largely avoided the kind of violence that has struck other nations in the region. President Nursultan Nazarbayev, who has been in power for two decades, has supported new laws to try to curtail religious extremism, particularly in light of renewed threats from a group calling itself Jund al-Khilafah (Soldiers of the Caliphate), which has claimed responsibility for previous attacks.